Use the Rainbow, Please!

In the name of one thing, they hang a banner declaring the character of God, his BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, PATIENT LOVE.

The problem with society’s use of the Rainbow today is the ironic REAL DECLARATION they unknowingly make.

If you fly the flag, you preach the Bible to all God’s faithful people. You are reminding us to pray for you, and hope for you, and to hope for us all.

“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Gen 9:12-13

The Rainbow is a Promise that He Will Be Patient with Us.

Even when society becomes as those in the days of Noah, as Christ warned, where “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” Gen 6:5–even then, God will be patient. As Saint Peter said:

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” 2 Peter 3:9

With every use of these beautiful colors, the LGBT community is reminding the rest of us that God is patient and loving, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. You say nothing else.

Patience Means Waiting for Change.

Use the flag, dear friends, declare your hatred of him-whom-you-do-not-know, because it makes us love you even more. It makes us care even more to tell you what the Rainbow really means for you. 

He’s giving you a chance. 

He’s giving you time.

But don’t waste your time, don’t waste this chance.

The Rainbow Belongs to the Covenant Community

It belongs to those whose names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It always has. It’s his Rainbow we will see for eternity, around the Throne in Heaven. 

You have rightly taken it, for in it, the beautiful sovereign God has given his people another reminder. A banner of hope. He will not yet sweep his punishment on this world. Not until the last preChristian repents, as Peter shows. Your flag is a modern-day miracle for us. From God. To remind us.

Use the Flag

Use the flag. And know, you declare with those lovely colors “GOD IS PATIENT WITH ME. GOD GIVES ME LIFE. GOD IS GIVING ME TIME TO REPENT.”

Use the flag. But with each flutter, remember your moments are ticking down. You are mortal and have the wonderfully long but painfully short life to figure this Rainbow out.

The first half of the Rainbow promise was that God would not flood the earth again. Peter continues with the second half of the Rainbow promise:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation. 2 Peter 3:10-15

What Kind of People Ought We to Be?

We all have these desires waging war in us to do this thing or that. These desires all feel natural. But natural does not by nature mean good. 

One sin is not worse than any other. What matters is that we see it as sin. Jesus loved sinners, but not the sin. He called sin sin, and even turned away those who had eager hearts but were not willing to let go of the smallest of sins.

“Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

Look at the things on this list. Nobody is exempt:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor IDOLATERS, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the GREEDY, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6

We are all greedy, holding on to our “PRECIOUS” like Gollum. We are all idolaters, worshipping ourselves narcissistically rather than worshipping God. None of us qualify to enter the Kingdom of God unless we call sin sin and look to the cross of Christ as our only escape from that dreadful day.

You May Hate Me for What I Say.

You may do all sorts of things against me because the beautiful Rainbow flag you use speaks to me of God’s great promises for the world.

But you won’t stop the direction my mind goes when I see the flag. It is etched into my soul. The Rainbow is God’s signature on a contract. God is patient, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Thank you for reminding me!

As a Christian, what is something that God has said (in the Bible) that you disagree with?

(Quora Question) As a Christian, what is something that God has said (in the Bible) that you disagree with?: 

My Answer:

In Song of Solomon, which can be seen partly as an allegory to the relationship of Christ and the Church (*1), it is written

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you (4:7)

We are caught, as Christians, in what is referred to as the “already/not yet” of history.

While God looks at me and sees only Christ’s righteousness (Rom 5:9, Phil 3:9, Rom 5:18, Rom 9:30, Rom 4:5, Gal 3:6-7). “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21)…

…yet I look at myself and do not see this. I feel like Paul in Romans 7:

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing….So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am!

So my greatest disagreement, because of this already/not yet, has to do with my dissatisfaction with the unholiness surrounding me, in my thoughts, in my actions, in my plans and ambitions. While God sees that I am “clothed in the righteousness of Christ,” I see the not-yet.

But this is what fuels my hope, my greatest desire. It is what propels me through this world, facing what comes. As John said—John who was the “last to go” of the apostles, who had to wait the longest of the 11 for that which was promised—

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

(*1) see This Momentary Marriage by John Piper, esp p. 127.

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Happy Thanksgiving: Are You Content?

thankfulness-creates-gratitude-which-generates-contentment-that-causes-peace-todd-stockerRemember the essence of Thankfulness:
WLC Question 146: Which is the tenth commandment?
Answer: The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Question 147: What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a FULL CONTENTMENT WITH OUR OWN CONDITION, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbor, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.

from Westminster Larger Catechism

To Please the People

retro-1480621_1280At what point should a writer write to please the people,
and at what point should a writer write what should be said?

A lively discussion on this topic was recently on Steve Laube agency’s “What’s Wrong with my Book” blog post by Tamela Hancock Murray. The wise recommendation was made to not defy the market’s unwritten codes.

“…write by the most conservative standards. No smoking, drinking, cursing, sexy double meanings, overemphasis on physical features and pleasures, and so forth. If it helps, imagine writing for your very strict grandmother or an aunt who’s easily shocked. Then you won’t knock yourself out of the market – at least not for that reason.”

We were told, “Don’t DEFY THE MARKET.” And yet what did I do but open my mouth and…defy the market. But I’m not the only one who’s bucking the system, or challenging the status quo. Many other Christian writers are wondering how to get Truth into a marketplace that only wants junk. My kids would live on junk food if I let them. I am in a position to influence them in their eating choices, so I give them excellent AND healthy food.

Let’s face it. When we come home from a long hard day at work–let’s say we teach three-year-olds ALL DAY LONG–we don’t want to think anymore. We want to chill out, to turn off the brain, to check-out mentally and escape to another time and another place.

Vicarious Living

Mirror neurons in our brain enable us to do exactly that. Reading books and watching movies (and, yes, playing video games), physically enable us to empathize and live vicariously through the main characters whose point of view (POV) we are reading/watching/playing.  Because of this, we can “escape” into another world. Our brains literally morph into that time and place.

Readers want to be engaged. But this does not mean the brain actually goes into neutral. The brain is actually vicariously thinking it is DOING what the main character is doing. So this is a great opportunity for writers to make an impact on the world.

Ernest Hemingway succinctly expressed this ability of writers when he said:

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”

I love in particular one part of Tracy Groot’s Madman, a Christy Award winner. After being wrapped up in the madmanproblem of the Demoniac of the Gadarenes you hear that Jesus is coming. Actually what reminds you is that you know the Bible. You know that Jesus is coming. The way Tracy sets it up, you know that across the sea something is happening. As one who has read the Bible, you know that “something” is Christ coming. I can’t recommend this book enough. I felt the freedom of the Madman’s salvation and it built up my love of Jesus because Tracy knows her responsibility to her readers and she wrote it that way.

We will be judged on the Day of the Lord for our actions. While salvation is only by faith in Christ, those who are called by His Name will be assessed. Our eternal rewards will be according to our deeds. The fruit of our life.

Teachers will be judged more harshly. And writers by definition put themselves in a position of teaching and influence. So do not fail to live up to Christ’s call. Anyone who reads a book ends up changed, in some way, for better or for worse. If readers need an escape from this crazy world, enable them to grow in faith as they escape.  Your deeds as a writer will follow you into eternity, you can be sure. If the parable of the talents tells us anything, it is that we are expected to DO RIGHT by the gifts we have been given. In fact, the word “talent” came into English from this very parable.

So as Christian writers what is our responsibility before God?

If we are writing a book that will be read, we need to use that talent in a way that brings results to the king.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 1 Timothy 4:1-5

Writing to please the “MARKET”? If you write just what will sell you are short-changing your talent. That’s giving them sugar and high carbs. What do you need to say? What do you want to call out from the housetops? Say it!

Writing to please the KING who gave you the talent in the first place? Kudos. If you do an excellent job, you will change lives one by one. That is all we can do. Whole grain delicious goodness.

No one is called to do anything less than live and work in a way that MOST honors God.

No one can be called to NOT do that. You can’t say, “I’m not called to write about the glory of God.” You cannot. If you are a Christian. Remember, the Book of Esther does not mention God once, and yet the whole book is about the glory of God and how He keeps His promises.

We maybe have great plans for our lives. But our deeds won’t be judged by Amazon reviews. Our deeds will be judged by those books that are being written in heaven. We will not get off with no reference to those books. The Lamb’s Book of Life erases the sins, but our good deeds follow us into the eternal kingdom.

level

 “If Calvin and Luther had written to the level of the people there would have been no Reformation.”
(Fikret Bocek)

Do you want to write books that are light reading, that merely entertain? Or do you want to entertain AND build up believers to glorify God? I challenge Christian industry to up-the-ante. Time is short.

ACTION POINT FOR READERS: Don’t let yourself be entertained by anything less than that which brings pleasure to God as well.
ACTION POINT FOR WRITERS: Don’t let the industry dictate you away from your primary call. All Christians must use their talents for the active honor of God. Your gifts and offerings need to be those that God requires.

Do you agree? Disagree? What publishers are upping-the-ante? Which other books have bucked the status quo?
Comment below.



See also how these writers contribute to the discussion:

Joel Miller: What is Christian Literature?

Got Questions: Can Christians Read Fiction?

Simon Mordon: Sex, Death & Christian Fiction lecture

Seek My Face

SEEKMYFACE

What is it God wants of us?

When all around the world spins on spin, when things keep getting sadder and news keeps getting darker, what can we do? We can complain about the impossible choices we are forced to make, in elections or with our kids. Or we can be proactive. We can bring about a solution God’s way.

Solomon was given a promise for the people of God. When bad things start to happen in the land it is a clue to us that GOD’S PEOPLE HAVE TO GET SERIOUS about several things.

When blight comes upon our land, it is up to the People of God, those called by His Name, Christians, to stand in the gap. Ezekiel 22:30 I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

Remember the story of Abraham interceding on behalf on Sodom and Gomorrah?

Compassion. Fifty people, Lord. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? (Genesis 18:22)

How to intercede.

Humble Yourself.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. God promises to confound the wisdom of the wise (1 Cor 1). Do not come to him sure that you are NOT part of the problem. The only way to know God, to be found acceptable to him, is by hiding behind Christ. On our own power, in our own strength we are nothing. Our good deeds are fit for the trash heap.

In Isaiah 66:2 God says, But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

Do you tremble at God’s Word? Do you read your Bible regularly? It is easy to slide, to forget to read, to depend on yesterday’s knowledge, last month’s reading. But the Word of God has power to sanctify you, to make you pleasing to God. Do not neglect so great a salvation.

Pray.

Prayer requires time. A daily sabbath rest from your important worldly duties. Do you pray?

Samuel said to Israel: As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. (1 Sam 12:23)

To Samuel, seeking God’s face on behalf of his people was right. Not interceding for them was a sin against the LORD. Pray for those you know who are in difficulty. Pray for your leaders. Pray for your nation and the world.

Seek God*s Face.

How do we find God’s face. His face is mentioned twice in the Aaronic Blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his FACE to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his COUNTENANCE upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

What then is seeking God’s face? It is finding his grace and his peace. To find his grace and peace we put ourselves under the teaching of the church. Paul and Peter used this blessing to start their epistles.

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2-3)

It is directly related to knowing God and Jesus. And it came through the prayer and ministry of those apostles whose heart and soul beat for the growth of the Church of Christ.

While it is not impossible to grow outside of church fellowship, the divine injunction is for believers to meet together. When we meet with other Christians, not only is Christ himself with us, but we taste a bit of heaven. We practice for our eternal worship of Christ, and the Holy Spirit meets us in a special way. Practicing for an eternity before the throne of God is seeking God’s face.

Seeking God’s face means walking in obedience so that God is pleased with your efforts. Trying to do the right thing. Hating your sin. Humble, contrite in Spirit, trembling at God’s word. Finding yourself in Christ-honoring service. Happily reaching to obey all of Christ’s commands. This is seeking God’s face.

Finding yourself reading Scripture to KNOW Christ. To KNOW Yahweh. To understand what he said. To know WHO he is and how he refers to himself. And to put into practice the lifestyle he requires of his Children. This is seeking God’s face.

Jesus said, I no longer call you servants, but friends…” And he said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”  John 15:14-15 Are you in obedience? This also is seeking God’s face.

Repent of Your Own Sin.

It says in 2 Chronicles that for God to heal our land, we must turn from our own sins. Lot turned and fled. His daughters kept their eyes ahead of them. Lot’s wife turned, looked back at the life she was leaving.

Jesus said to “Remember Lot’s Wife” when we choose our life priorities: In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (Luke 17:31-33)

If you have repented of your sin, you will hate it. You won’t regret what you left behind. You will hate your impatience. You will hate your anger-problem. You will hate your deceit, your gossip, your gluttony, your immorality. You will hate it. You will cling to the life Christ called you to. You will eagerly “TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM.” For his yoke is easy and his burden is light.. (Matthew 11:30)

Let us…

FRIENDS, Let us press forward to Seek God’s Face. Our land, our nation, our world needs those who call themselves by God’s name to follow the dictates God has given for MAKING THINGS RIGHT. He will heal our land if we humble ourselves, and pray, and seek his face, and turn from our sins. He gives his word.

And if you do not yet know Christ, you have the amazing opportunity in this life to become a child of God. Find yourself a Bible. Read the Book of John. Get on your knees and tell God you hate your sin, and you want him to make you righteous like Christ. Take a look at this presentation of the Good News.  “To all who received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)  Find a Bible-believing church and commit to Knowing God for the rest of your life.

Let us fall on our face before the Father and live and do as he asks us, for the sake of the cross of Jesus. For the sake of the blood shed for us, let us deny ourselves and honor Christ with every breath. While it is still called today.

Review of Playing Saint, by Zachary Bartels

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Playing Saint by Zachary Bartels, which came out in 2014, gets top score in my book. As a pop Christian novel, it does an excellent job of intertwining history, intrigue, character development and theology.

The protagonist is an up-and-coming tele-evangelist called Parker Saint. In avoiding a scandal, he comes face to face with “a demanding detective, a trio of secretive Vatican operatives, and a centuries-old conspiracy to conceal a mysterious relic.” This premise is truly far-fetched. However, it is tempting enough of a premise that it pulls you in. You find out about his family background, his aspirations, his love-interest, and then comes the CSI connection and you’re hooked. It’s a fun ride. But what makes it excellent is that it is written by a pastor with a vision for the Great Commission.

Too many novels labelled as Christian fall short of true redemption. In a sense, they find resolution in a “job well done” or a “husband/wife gained.” This trend reminds me a lot of Matthew 24:27-29, where Jesus says

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

Though nothing is wrong with marriage; the point of the passage is that life is more than just “doing your thing.” The main message of Christ’s ministry was “Judgment Day is coming, get right with God.” This is the very same wonderful message of Zachary Bartels’s book. The primary movement in the story centers around recognizing falsehood in your life and urgently finding Truth.

Playing Saint delves into topics that are currently leading the Church astray, particularly “Narcissistic Christianity” which is popular in tele-evangelism, and unbiblical demonology which is rampant worldwide.

I commend Zachary Bartels for using his writing platform to fulfill the universal Christian call to ministry. As it says in 1 Timothy 4:1-5:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

My teenage daughters laugh at some Christian novels that, to validate themselves, have subtitles to the effect of “an action-packed Christian thriller,” which is like telling the punchline before you get into a joke. In my opinion, the caliber of a novel will pull those phrases out of readers. There is a definite need for suspense novels for Christians. After a hard day’s work, we sometimes need to escape into fiction. But also there is a definite call for ratcheting-up the quality of those Christian novels to meet the spiritual hunger and confusion of modern-day Christians. Meat. Perspective. Instruction in righteousness. Exhortation and comfort.

Hollywood and the pulp-fiction market shovel out adventure and romance that spins Narcissistic Hedonism as the end-all to aspire for. When you read a novel or watch a movie, brain cells called “mirror neurons” physically cause you to have empathy, and enable you to live vicariously through the lives of the characters you are reading about or watching. This is a scary thing if a reader is not cautious about the “in-portal” to their mirror neurons.

Our moments on earth are limited. When we choose to be entertained for the hours it takes to read a book, we are submitting our minds to be shaped by some author or another. What will happen depends on that author’s values and worldview. But if we carefully choose our “teachers,” we can become better after our time in that book. Especially when the writer’s message is Christ’s message, Paul’s message, John’s message. This is what makes Playing Saint so refreshing.

Thank you, Zachary Bartels, for doing for Christian fiction what we hope more writers will do. I look forward to reading The Last Con, because I know I will be a better Christian after reading it. You recognize your responsibility to me.

update 2/2019 (See review of We Hope for Better Things, by Erin Bartels, the wife of Zachary Bartels)

1290 Days

ancient-1246447_1920What would you do if you knew you only had 7 years left to live?
What would you do if you knew the world had only 7 years left?

I am not Chicken Little. I shy away from any kind of “end times” prophecy like I would the Tar Baby.

A few months ago, and again the other day I was reading in Daniel, and was floored by something.

Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

Daniel 12:10-12

A note in my New Geneva Study Bible says, “the significance of these time frames is obscure,” since it is not connected to the earlier “three and a half years” prophecies. This got me thinking.

I have been to the Temple Mount, and have seen the Muslim shrine standing where Solomon’s temple used to be. IMHO, that is an abomination. I did a very little history research about this and found out something that rocked my world.

RESEARCH RESULTS

Date of Destruction of Temple of Solomon (where Ezekiel says the Spirit left.) 597* /587 BC

1290 years–>

Date of Building of the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, between AD 688 and 691

1335 years from Dome of the Rock–>

AD 2023-2026

597 BC–>1290 years –> 688-691 AD–> 1335 years –> AD 2023-2026

WHAT THIS MEANS

All of this says to me one thing–NOT that the world is ending in seven to eleven years. It asks me,

What would you do differently if you knew the world would end in seven years?

  • Would you more earnestly do and check-off things on your “Bucket List”?
  • Would you cross of unimportant things on that Bucket list?
  • Would you reconsider your life, and even your lifestyle, and make significant changes?
  • Would you stop playing that video game?
  • Would you spend more time with your family?
  • Would you spend more free time visiting with non-Christian friends and family?
  • Would you be busier storing up heavenly treasures?
  • Would your priorities and decisions be different?
  • Would you be more patient?
  • Would you be more faithful?
  • Would you be more generous with your wealth and outward estate?
  • Would you number your days?
  • Are you doing what you would want to do in your last seven years of life?
  • Are you doing what you would want to do during the last seven years of life on earth?

For one of these days, there WILL only be seven years left on earth.

END OF LIFE/ END OF THE WORLD RESOLUTIONS

Jonathan Edwards made a couple resolutions related to this:

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

and

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

and

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world.

Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour:

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24:32-44

WHAT*S WITH THE NUMBERS?

So the book of Daniel gives us numbers, and we should use them. After all, why would they be in the Bible if they were useless? Even Daniel himself saw that Jeremiah promised that Cyrus would send them back to Jerusalem 70 years after the exile.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession…  

Daniel 9:2-4

appletree

DOGMATISM vs SELF-EXAMINATION

But we cannot be dogmatic about dates and times because of Christ’s warnings (see above). Ultimately, the purpose of the dates is to stir us up. Like Daniel, it should draw us to prayer and confession and self-examination.  Scripture expects us to be wise and consider these two questions:

Action Point:
  1. Are you living life in such a way that you would not regret how you spent TODAY if the Lord returns in 2023?
  2. How do you feel about the return of Christ? When “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.'” Do you answer “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”? (Rev 22:20)
  3. We would love to read your answers in the comments below…



Notes

*1-The typical date given for the destruction of the temple is 587 BC, Babylonian documents themselves appear to date Nebuchadnezzar’s seige to 597 BC. Jeremiah states three exiles 597 “the seventh year,” 586 “the eighteenth year” and a smaller third exile after that. (See Missing Years). No one knows exactly the date for the actual destruction when the “regular burnt offering is taken away.” There was no year 0. There have been various calendar systems since ancient times. Lunar, solar, Julian, Gregorian. It is possible these changes relate to the ten missing years as well. Because of these things, the dates actually still are cloaked in mystery. Additionally, my claim that the Dome of the Rock is an abomination of desolation is just a claim. Is it “the Abomination of Desolation”? Is it one of many that will come? *2-http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-resolutions-of-jonathan-edwards